Death in the family
My dear, intelligent Border Collie went to doggies’ heaven. Heaven because I can’t see how she could ever have sinned. Gabby, originally named after the angel Gabriel, succumbed to kidney failure. Her ever present loyal, gentle, adorable, playful and often boisterous nature was an enormous loss. Her little friend and companion, Jessie the Jack Russell, waited inside the gate for the homecoming that wasn’t to be.
Here is the tragic human dimension to this in Zimbabwe.
Thembi, a lovely and heart warming child, was admitted to Parirenyatwa hospital in Harare after her single mother sold her furniture to pay for treatment. Thembi died at the age of nine – exactly the same amount of time spent on this earth as Gabby the Border Collie. Thembi was a bundle of joy to all of us who knew her. Her early school reports were excellent.
She also died from kidney complications and I’m certain she has gone to heaven. I can’t think how she could have sinned. The emptiness she has left is fathomless. I am not a deeply religious man but Thembi must be in the loving arms of Jesus.
“Pari,” our big government hospital, is a travesty. Patients die from curable and treatable illness. Routine medical equipment is woefully inadequate. There is a waiting list for critical care dialysis – someone must die for a vacancy to open up.
At a nearby privately-run testing laboratory an elderly woman has brought blood samples taken from her bed-ridden adult son. She has walked to the lab because she doesn’t have enough for the kombi fare. She can’t pay for the tests, she starts crying, takes back the samples and trudges away, stooped and broken.
What happens now? Without test results, doctors won’t be able to treat her son, maybe he’ll be seen by a n’anga (sangoma, traditional healer, witchdoctor to some) and he will either get better or die.
After visiting little Thembi at Pari I took a shortcut through the casualty department. There’s a cleaner outside having a quick cigarette and we get chatting. He tells me they all thought a person was asleep on a seat in the emergency waiting area. But when his turn eventually came and they went to wake him up he was dead.
Those in charge at the top with flashy cars who could do something about it don’t care.